“Pandemic changed our lives!”
“Covid changed our ways!”
“2020 and 2021 changed the world!”
Yes, it is all true. But it isn’t the only one bringing about changes in how we live and work. Digitalisation has escalated at a higher speed in the past two years, and 2022 will be a game-changer in many ways.
So for the first post of the year, I thought of sharing the five things that will shape the sales trends in 2022. So here are the top five changes already happening around us, Salestors. We need to gear up for them.
1. Artificial Intelligence (AI):
Artificial Intelligence has spearheaded Sales Automation. CRMs for Sales forecasts and analysis, advanced software for lead generation and chatbots for interactive customer experience, AI has taken over Sales processes.
For instance, have you received SMSes triggered by chatbots instead of systems? And how many times have you been lured to interact with it? Chatbot triggered messages are interactive, not mundane announcements of a product launch or festive offers. That’s why they work. AI allows us to get creative in Sales!
Research shows that, on average, 50% of Salestors meet their targets. With AI by their side, this number has escalated for many organisations. The better the data Salestors receive about their customers and the market, the better they perform.
2. Use of Multiple channels for Customer Experience:
As per Zendesk Sales Report 2021, 50% of global sales leaders feel their customers are better informed than before, so their buying pattern has changed drastically. That’s why focusing their resources on Customer Experience, or CX is the priority for most Sales leaders across the globe.
But Customer Experience has evolved from after-sales services to omnichannel servicing. Customers need companies to serve whenever and wherever they are, mainly if the customer base includes millennials and Gen Zers. PWC found that the number of organisations investing in omnichannel customer experience has increased from 20% to 80% between 2010 and 2020.
Customers today use a variety of media to connect with the companies, and the list includes
Comprehensive mobile website
Live chat through chatbots
Social media, which includes WhatsApp (Personal or Business accounts)
SMSes (Sending a single text to get a Customer Service call or a service still works well with customers. Ask the telecom industry!)
Website or app contact forms, FAQs and self-service sections
Emails (If you think they are dead, think again!)
3. Customer Self Service:
Picture this. Your customer is trying to change their home address in the bank account details. Earlier, the only option they had was to contact the bank’s customer service, furnish a few documents in hard copy and get the address changed. With advanced technology, all they need to do is upload the soft copies of address proof on the website or app and click ‘Save’.
Customer self-service has become a necessity than a luxury for companies. A few self-service channels used widely are website/app, IVR, social media, SMS and live chat.
Here are some guidelines to keep in mind while designing a self-service portal.
Include as many FAQs as possible and update them regularly
Keep a tab on the search behaviour of your customers
Optimise the self-service platform for mobile users and update regularly
Include audio, video and screenshots to guide your customers with a task
4. Augmented Analytics and Machine Learning:
We Salestors need forecasting and analytics as much as we deserve incentives, and all these functions require data.
However, acquiring data was never enough, and we had learnt that ages ago. We need to process and analyse it. The new realisation is that corporates need more than the ability to analyse data. We need to automate it, i.e. make machines do the analysis. The onset of Machine Learning and AI has enabled data analytics automation, and that branch is called Augmented Analytics.
Briefly, Augmented Analytics first segregates and structures the available information. Then it uses machine learning to analyse, draw insights and make it usable by Sales Managers. So our task is further simplified to just asking for the figures we want to see. Be it competition analysis, market dynamics, or the Q3 sales of your branch in another part of the world, augmented analytics makes data analysis more accurate and simple.
5. Webinars and Podcasts for Lead Generation:
It sounds very different from the other four topics we discussed, right? There are things besides Sales Automation that need urgent updates: our lead generation techniques. Global communication has gone digital, and so should lead generation. Networking is happening over webinars, and they are proving to be a great technique to generate new leads. Around 73% of marketers believe one webinar can snowball to generate over 500 good quality leads.
Sales Podcasts have also caught up the fancy of Sales Managers worldwide. (Remember Salestors on Deb Calvert’s Monday Morning Sales Rally? 😉). You can just log in and listen to fellow Salestors across the world and follow new market trends. They are a great way to expand your network.
Even the virus in the air has changed its forms with the times. We need to too! These five trends will change how we Salestors operate. 2022 will be a decisive year for the Sales Automation warriors; let’s be a part of it.
Think there will be other trends in Sales besides these? Share in the comments below!